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What did you Thought you Were? - 73%

Ritchie Black Iommi, September 30th, 2012

The evolution of heavy metal, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple crafted most of what would later become the oficial morphemas of the mother genre. Sabbath gave birth to the first heavy metal songs, while DP made, with "Deep Purple in Rock", the first wholly metal album.

But, anyway, getting away from all those historic conventions, what about this album, which is like the watershed of a lively period in which Deep Purple was the most revered and powerful band in the world?

The thing is, probably and debatably, as follows: after the coincidence achieved with "Hush", a top 5 single in North America and respectable sales of Deep Purple's debut album, the first mark of the band, with the progressive and psychodelic sounds under the elbow, attempted to reproduce the brief sucess achieved by the band, but without reaching it. In Europe, moreover, they were well unknown. The thing was going bad and Blackmore decided to shake off everything and led the band to a different direction.

A long struggle took place between the second semester of 1969 and the first semester of 1972, when DP Mk II reached its peak of popularity.

Gillan and Glover replaced Evans and Simper and, as well, the band left away the ancient sounds of progressive psychedelia for the pumping power of the guitars, bass and drums. The result of all this, as said before, was the birth of the first heavy metal album in the history: Deep Purple in Rock (this can be debated, certainly) and it was a huge seller in Europe and Japan, well followed by Fireball, created swiftly to maximize sells, but a great and kinda forgotten album. This two releases resurrected DP's image worldwide and with "Machine Head", the american market finally plunged at Deep Purple's feet. Made in Japan was the confirmation of this (and many more things). No other band was more powerful than DP.

But, what was it, then? Well, it goes like this. Gillan and Blackmore couldn't stand together anymore and the band, far from producing new and mighty metal ideas, was a constant ego battlefield. After a long tribulation, Gillan decided to leave but before that, they released this "Who do We Think We Are".

What can we say about the album? Well, first of all, the monetary impulse and idea of it can be felt everywhere. With huge sellers in US, like Machine Head or Made in Japan, this one came for sucking til the last drop of milk from the tit before the thing blows off. The guys quickly made a song for matching Smoke on the Water's hitting and there you got "Woman from Tokyo", the only slightly remarkable track here. The rest is pure and total filler.

It's still, in any case, a total mistery to figure out how, from such a tremendous blaster forces like the albums cited above, the band could have fall into this American Friendly Rock kind of stuff?? That's a deep enigma, maybe there will be no answer ever. But the thing is that "Who do We Think We Are" sold millions and, at least commercially, worked out (only for its time, because now its probably the minor seller in Deep Purple's 70s catalogue). Nevertheless, there was to be a dead end for MK II.

Certainly, in the hands of Foghat, Lynrd Skynrd or a band such as, this would have been a total masterpiece. But we are talking about Deep Purple, the freakin' crafters of early speed, power and melodic metal!! You know, Super Trouper, Place in Line, those are american style rock songs, AOR if you like. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page could have, probably, made of this things mainstream classics, but with Blackmore without doing wizard technicalities in the guitar, with Mr. Lord without magic and Gillan shouting like a pop singer this album can't work for DP.

Mary Long is NOT a blood brother of Pictures of Home. Rat Rat Blue is far away from Hard Lovin' Man. Smooth Dancer has nothing to do with Fools. And that's it. This album is made with easy light rockers which are flickers of easy beat radio station songs and not the brain eater metal monsters of the early MK II days. This tracks are a kinda return to the MK I roots, but without the psychedelia and with Mr. Lord far asleep doing ear friendly sounds with his keyboards, not the intrincate and dark solos of the late 60s.

So, for finishing, "Who do We Think We Are" is not a worthy descendant of the majestic productions made before by Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord and Paice. It was made for profitting, for making easy money and for leaving away with a solvent bank account and not for creating new sounds, not for amazing with blaster solos, ruthless singing or solid and aggressive bass/drums lines. This thing is a forgettable moneymaker, only worthy for having the latent talent of the creators of the album and the name that carries the band. Nothing more. As an historical piece, you can totally have this. As a lover of early AOR, give it a try. But as a heavy metal definer, this album is a wreck. And that's all, folks.